The ac-20 strain of Chlamydomonas reinhardi is characterized by low levels of chloroplast ribosomes when grown mixotrophically. Cells can be transferred to minimal medium and their ribosome levels increase. If, at the time of transfer, cells are exposed to chloramphenicol, an inhibitor of protein synthesis in the chloroplast, or cycloheximide, an inhibitor of protein synthesis in the cytoplasm, ribosome recovery is not affected; however, recovery is blocked by exposure to rifampicin, an inhibitor of chloroplast DNA-dependent RNA polymerase. It is therefore concluded that ac-20 cells suffer from an impaired chloroplast ribosomal RNA synthesis. Mixotrophic ac-20 cells are also characterized by low rates of photosynthetic electron transport, disorganized chloroplast membranes, and a small pyrenoid. If chloramphenicol is applied to transferred cells whose chloroplast ribosome levels have already recovered, recovery of photosynthetic electron transport and of structural integrity does not occur. Under the same conditions, cycloheximide has no effect on recovery. It is concluded that the structural and photosynthetic lesions in ac-20 are a secondary consequence of the low levels of chloroplast ribosomes. Finally, we present evidence that recovery of photosynthetic electron transport requires the transcription of chloroplast DNA. This transcription is apparently triggered by light.

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